This past week I competed at a speech and debate tournament in the lovely Emerald City (aka Seattle), and I was so blessed by the experience that I thought I should write about it...So I am =)
This was my second tournament of the season, and I was competing as an Iron Man (or "Maiden," rather), which means that I was competing in 5 speech events along with debate. I had competed as a Marathoner (5 speech events) last year, and, for some strange reason unknown to me, I thought that adding Lincoln Douglas debate wouldn't be very difficult...Guess what? I was wrong!
My mom and four of my siblings were planning to attend but almost all of them got sick, so we made some last minute changes to "the plan" and I hitched a ride with my lovely duo partner, Ariel, and her wonderful family.
We got there a day early for script check, and then had a little speech presentation with our hosts (the amazing ::drum roll, please:: Dokupil family!!)
The next day was pure, unadulterated frenzy! I debated 3 times (two Neg, one Aff) and gave speeches a total of 8 times. I didn't even end up eating lunch, I just didn't have time!
The second day (Friday) was far less chaotic. I debated 3 more times (two Aff one Neg) and spoke a total of 7 times...that's odd actually, it felt like less than that, oh well. Anyway, it was so full of mirth, I will never forget it.
At one point, in between rounds, a man who had judged me in my persuasive came up to me and let me know that my speech (about helping the homeless) had really touched him, he had already checked out the website that I recommend in the speech (h2obags.com), and he is considering starting an H2O group in his area. We ended up talking for quite a while, and I was extremely blessed by our conversation. All of the stress, the worry, the writing it out a bazillion times to try to memorize it in time, all of that was worth it. The Lord had chosen to use me as His voice in reaching this man. And in reaching this man, who knows how many homeless people might be reached? God knows, and that is such a comfort.
I think Saturday was the most amazing day of them all. I broke to Semi Finals in our Duo, my Dramatic and my Persuasive. Okay folks, I was shocked out of my marbles! I thought that our Duo had a chance, so I was ecstatic that it broke, but I did not think either of the other two would make the cut. Just goes to show that God's plan is quite often (in fact, most of the time it is) different than mine.
Those speeches all went really well, God was really helping me out, and both Ariel and I felt great about how our Duo went.
Then I broke to Finals in my persuasive. I could not believe it. Finals at a tournament this size! This is my best ECQ story of all: I was put second in the room on the posting, after Conor McBride, he had another speech to get to so I ended up trading with him, and I went first. Then something crazy happened. I was standing at the side of the room, waiting for the judges to get situated, and I couldn't remember my speech. I remembered my hook, my point titles, and bits and pieces (all out of order) of the rest of my speech. I didn't know what to do, so I prayed and started my speech. I didn't make a single mistake. During each and every line I was thinking, "I don't know the next line, I don't know the next line!" But my whole speech was coming out of my mouth. It was my best round. Ever.
I guess the reason that that was so great was that God didn't have to do that. God had already helped me to break to Finals, the worst I could do was 7th or 8th, which would have been great, but God decided to show me that through my weakness He is strong. I had been leaning on my own understanding, my own memory, so God had me loose it, and I couldn't remember my speech. Then God gave my speech back to me, one line at a time, so that the whole entire time I had to be trusting in His strength, not my own. Our God is an awesome God, is He not? I came out of the room, and just broke down. I was crying like a baby! I called my mom (honestly, she probably didn't understand a word I said through all of my blubbering) and told her about it, about how amazing God is, I was just in awe of His love for me.
There were so many, many little instances like this, things that God did but didn't have to at all, at the ECQ, so many that I won't even try to list them all.
This was the first tournament that I had ever competed in apologetics at, and I only had a few cards, probably around 10, and through God's sovereignty and grace, all three topics that I picked were topics that I had cards on. One of them was even my favorite card!
In the end, I ended up getting 16th in dramatic interp, 14th in sweepstakes, 13th in Duo and 3rd in persuasive. God is so good!
This was the most amazing Ballot that I've ever gotten along with my third place medal =), Isn't the drawing amazing?!
Over and out =)